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Bridge Culture Club resumes in April with ‘We Kept Our Towns Going’

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Bridge Culture Club returns in April, with a fascinating and informative nonfiction selection: “We Kept Our Towns Going: The Gossard Girls of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula” by Phyllis Michael Wong. We are fortunate to be joined by Wong for our discussion of the book.


“We Kept Our Towns Going” is a 2023 Michigan Notable Books selection. The book tells the stories of the Gossard Girls, who sewed corsets and bras at factories in Ishpeming and Gwinn from the early 20th century to the 1970s. As the Upper Peninsula’s mines became increasingly exhausted and its stands of timber further depleted, H.W. Gossard Co. employed more than 1,000 workers, mostly women and often first- or second-generation immigrants. The book highlights their daily challenges and joys.


Please bring your lunch and join Bridge Culture Club to discuss the book on Zoom from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m Tuesday, April 18. You’ll have an opportunity to submit questions for Wong during the event. Bridge membership and engagement director Amber DeLind will moderate this discussion.

To receive an invitation and Zoom link to this discussion, please complete this event registration form.

Here’s our schedule

  • Book announced: March 24
  • First discussion questions on chapters 1-3 posted on Bridge Culture Club closed Facebook group: Mar 31, 2023
  • Second discussion questions on chapters 4-6 posted on Bridge Culture Club closed Facebook group: April 7
  • Third discussion questions on chapters 7-9 posted on Bridge Culture Club closed Facebook group: April 14
  • Live Zoom discussion: 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. April 18

How to get the book

For Bridge Club members: We will provide an e-version of the selected book as a membership benefit. If you’re not already a member: Join today for as little as $1 and support our nonprofit newsroom. Members will receive a link to their free book via email from membership and engagement director Amber DeLind.

If you are not a Bridge Club member but would like to borrow the book or buy the book: You can order “We Kept Our Towns Going” directly from the publisher, visit your library or download it from a Michigan library system to an e-reader or smartphone via Libby. The book may also be available at local bookstores, some of which offer curbside pickup. Call your local bookstore to inquire.


How to take part in the online discussion

Please join our closed Facebook group by clicking here to participate in weekly discussions of the book in the lead-up to our Zoom event. Bridge staff will approve your membership in this closed group. 

Over the next several weeks, we will post discussion questions about sections of the book’s chapters, and group members will be invited to interact with our team and with one another. See the box above for a schedule.

Participation in these weekly discussions is not required to participate in the Zoom discussion.

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